SCA and ARN staffers to return to full pay

Former Editor & Content Director

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and Australian Radio Network (ARN) are returning to their pre-COVID pay conditions at the end of the month, but NOVA Entertainment has remained silent on its resourcing requirements.

All networks, however, are preparing to return to their various office locations, revealing their plans for the coming months to Radio Today.

SCA will return to full pay and hours from September 28, and has also introduced its back-to-work plan SCA YourWay.

CEO Grant Blackley said the program ensures workplace flexibility, productivity and collaboration.

“SCA YourWay recognises that when flexible work is done well, we can achieve our best professionally, whilst also maintaining work-life balance,” he said.

SCA YourWay was borne out of the lessons from the pandemic, and the changes it forced upon the industry, he said.

“One positive side effect of COVID-19 has been examining the ways we work. Whilst many of us have enjoyed aspects of our flexible working arrangements and we have seen that the technology available to us enables effective remote working, we have also learned that the culture and collaboration provided in our office environments is something that we enjoy and is an important part of our competitive advantage,” he said.

Blackley flagged SCA’s aspirations to have the vast majority of its offices at full capacity by the end of the year.

ARN, meanwhile, still has flexible working in place, and is also returning to full pay and hours.

CEO Ciaran Davis said he was very pleased to be able to reinstate pre-COVID conditions.

“The market is tough but we are seeing signs of improvement and sentiment to radio remains strong. Everyone at ARN worked incredibly hard on reduced hours over the past six months, most people were working longer hours than ever to support the business and that has not gone unnoticed,” he said.

NOVA, meanwhile, declined to comment on pay conditions, but revealed its detailed plans for getting people back to work in the office.

Perth, Adelaide and Gosford workers had been working in red and blue teams on alternate weeks. Now, these three NOVA offices have moved to flexible working arrangements, with staff choosing whether to work from the office or home.

Brisbane has also been on the red and blue system, but will move to the fully flexible option from next week.

Sydney returned this week, split across the coloured teams.

Due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns, NOVA Melbourne is operating with only permitted workers on site.

A NOVA spokesperson also noted the benefits that had come with moving to flexible working conditions, including less stress on parents, and some team members feeling energised about returning to the office and seeing their colleagues once more.

SCA’s Blackley also noted the camaraderie between his staff.

“The willingness of each and every person at SCA to lean in and play their part to support each other and the company through this difficult period has been nothing short of astounding. Whilst clearly the COVID-19 situation is ever-changing and will require careful ongoing management, it is the efforts and contributions of each of us that have enabled us to emerge ready for the months and years ahead,” he said.

The return-to-work plans are a bright spot for the networks, none of which have been immune from staff and pay cuts throughout the pandemic.

Last month, Radio Today revealed NOVA Entertainment was letting around 70 staff go. In addition, a number of staff stood down at ARN during the pandemic have quietly left the business. SCA too has let go both behind-the-scenes staff and on-air talent.

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18 Sep 2020 - 6:57 am

Good for them. SEN staff are still struggling over here.

HR Harry
18 Sep 2020 - 11:53 am

It’s great to be back on full pay and hours soon, but fair to say I think both networks have a long way to go to rebuild the trust of their staff, and neither have a ‘winning culture’ at the moment. You can feel it in the building (if you’re even in the building). Some investment back into their people will go a long way I think. The off-air vibe always finds its way onto the speakers, good or bad!


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